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What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?  
User currently offlinerising From United States of America, joined May 2010, 269 posts, RR: 1
Posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5131 times:

I was having a discussion with a colleague the other day about Flight Deck crews from years past, and it got me thinking.... what ever happened to all of those FEs? Did they go on to be First Officers? Were they laid off? Let go through attrition?

And, in regard to the position itself, were they pilots that could fly the airplane in the event of an emergency? Did you go to school to become a FE, or was it a stepping stone to becoming a First Officer/Captain?

Come to think of it, it really was not all that long ago they went away, at least on long-haul flights.


If it doesn't make sense, it's because it's not true.
12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSSTeve From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 695 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4985 times:

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Come to think of it, it really was not all that long ago they went away, at least on long-haul flights.

The 727 had 'em, too.


User currently onlineB757forever From United States of America, joined May 2010, 396 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4950 times:

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Did they go on to be First Officers? Were they laid off?



Yes and yes. Those who held an ATP license most likely moved up, those who did not went away. A lot of airlines had PFEs (professional flight engineers) who had moved into the position from mechanic but were not licensed pilots.


User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21474 posts, RR: 60
Reply 3, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4903 times:

Would some have moved into management as well? Operations? Flight planning?


Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2534 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4657 times:

Most US airlines stopped hiring PFE's a long time ago. Most required the FE's to have their ATP and it was used as the new hire pilot seat. Some were also aged out pilots. FE's could fly beyond the then 60 year mandatory retirement age.

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15719 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4628 times:

Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 4):
Most US airlines stopped hiring PFE's a long time ago.

As I understand it, in the early days FEs were mostly promoted mechanics before the position evolved to a pilot's position. But as flight engineers became more rare as older planes were phased out, PFEs made a bit of a comeback, partially because of age rules.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31667 posts, RR: 56
Reply 6, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4046 times:

Most moved on to seperate responsibilities within the company......in Flt ops.....this need not be flying only...


Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4011 times:

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 1):
The 727 had 'em, too.

The 727 STILL has them!  


User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1576 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3938 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 7):
The 727 STILL has them!  

And we are STILL hiring them! We even had a couple do their FE test and checkrides a few months back!

Occasionally we move one up from the back seat to the right seat but next year there is a new reg requiring an ATP/1500 hours to fly so some of our FE's that also putt-putt around in a 172 on the weekends don't quite have enough time when we upgrade them to the front but we are trying to get them up there now to build time to be ready.

Right now we are still kinda looking for PFE's with A&P's, I'd say about 2/3's of our guys are PFE's right now and well into their 70's so they aren't eligible for upgrade.

I've said this plenty of times before on a.net, but ever since moving into a 3 man airplane a few years ago, it's the way to go and it's too bad FE's are a dying breed and a thing of the past.



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4913 posts, RR: 43
Reply 9, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3930 times:

In the 1980s with the B747s and DC-10s, Wardair had PFEs. This made sense as they used to fly to places where they did not have a lot of staff, so it was handy carrying an AME rated on the aircraft type.

With the order of the A310s, the "writing was on the wall" so when the A300Bs were leased, they did not have the PFEs, but actual pilots hired into the FE position, with the intent of moving to F/O when the FE position was eliminated. They were referred to internally as "FE2s".

With the sale of the DC-10s and the eventual replacement of the A300Bs with A310s, the FE2s moved into F/O positions, but the PFEs were left hanging. In deference to the time they put into the airline, they were offered the opportunity to move to the F/O position if they were able to achieve the licencing and experience. To their credit ... 9 made it! While most have retired, there are still a few around today flying as B767 and A320 Captains!



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinebueb0g From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2010, 642 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3846 times:

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Did they go on to be First Officers? Were they laid off? Let go through attrition?

In some airlines, such as Lufthansa, they went on to become Second Officers or Relief Pilots. I believe LH only has about 11 dedicated cruise relief pilots, and these were all ex FEs.



Roger roger, what's our vector, victor?
User currently offlineairbuster From Netherlands, joined Mar 2007, 441 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3706 times:

KLM retrained those suitable to pilots. Others went to work as ground mechanics and some even became cabin crew!


FLY FOKKER JET LINE!
User currently offlineB777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1302 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3381 times:

Some retired, some left to continue flying sideways elsewhere, some - the younger ones - got an ATPL with the help of the company, some got a job on the ground and some left for other reasons. But we still have a number of them nursing the panel on the trusty old B4s and 72s.


From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
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